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Clarence Mead "Tim" Wolford

October 17, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

Editor's note: Each Sunday, The Herald-Mail publishes "A Life Remembered." This continuing series takes a look back -- through the eyes of family, friends, co-workers and others -- at a member of the community who died recently. Today's "A Life Remembered" is about Clarence Mead "Tim" Wolford, who died Oct. 6 at the age of 73. His obituary was published in the Oct. 8 edition of The Herald-Mail.

Having a police officer for a father often is all it takes for offspring to follow in his footsteps.

But Clarence Mead "Tim" Wolford took that one step further when it came to his two sons.

"Dad saw an advertisement in The Herald-Mail about the police cadet program, showed it to me and I applied," said son Tim Wolford, now a lieutenant in the Hagerstown Police Department.

Not to be outdone, younger brother Fred Wolford also signed on and is a Hagerstown Police Department lieutenant.

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"We both started on the force in the 1980s," Fred said. "As cadets, we were making $8,008 a year."

Their grandfather also was a police officer in Hagerstown.

Son Tim worked briefly in construction and at The Venice Inn, but he knew law enforcement was calling him as strongly as it had his father and grandfather before him.

"I went right to it," Fred said.

Married to a police officer and the mother of two other officers, Linda Wolford said she tried not to dwell on the inherent dangers. When Fred and son Tim joined the force, Linda said she got some reassurance from then-Police Chief Clinton Mowen.

"He told me he'd take care of them," Linda said.

Linda Jennings first met her future husband when she was a junior and a cheerleader at South Hagerstown High School in the late 1950s.

"My friend wanted to go out with a boy named Teddy Dofflemyer, so she asked me to double date with his best friend ... a guy named Tim," Linda said.

They dated off and on for a year or so, usually after football games. Tim was more than five years older than Linda and already was working as a state police trooper.

"We married in 1959, right after I graduated from high school," Linda said.

The family began to grow, first with daughter Traci, then Tim and Fred. Through most of their married life, Linda and Tim lived in the same house in Halfway.

"My sister, Traci, held me up in the window of the house so the neighbors could see me," Fred said. Afraid of germs, their grandmother wouldn't let anyone in the house when Fred was just a newborn.

Though Tim was ailing toward the end of his life, he was able to continue living in the house they shared for 47 years, Linda said.

Son Tim remembers helping his father build an in-ground swimming pool in the backyard from a kit.

"Dad was really proud of that pool ... opening it up every summer for the neighborhood kids was a big event," he said.

After Tim's stint with the Maryland State Police ended, he went to work for the Maryland Division of Correction. He retired after 21-plus years at the Maryland Correctional Institution.

He also had been active with the Pioneer Hook and Ladder Fire Department on Franklin Street over the years. In 1955, Tim was among the founders of Community Rescue Service.

Still, his favorite role was family man. Daughter Traci Parks said she still hasn't quite processed the fact that her father is gone.

"He wasn't a police officer to me ... he was my dad and my hero," Traci said. She always will remember how her father stood by her during her difficult teenage years, when she described herself as a brat.

Son Tim remembers trips to restaurants such as The Majestic and Dodson's with his father. Wherever they went, everyone seemed to know his father, and vice versa.

Fred recalled summer vacations for more than 20 years in Ocean City, N.J., where they would rent a house, share the meals and welcome family members who would come and go.

"We'd go to the store and fill eight shopping carts with food," Fred said. "Then, dad would do all the cooking."

Those trips and Tim's traditional roast beef Sunday dinners will be missed by all of the family members. Some steps have been taken to fill in the blanks already, with Fred and his family hosting Christmas dinners for the entire clan.

But it just won't be the same.

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